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On Supply Chain Disruptions: Plan Don't Panic! Prepping 101 With JC Cole

Growing up on the harsh South Dakota prairie, I learned from a young age the importance of being prepared for anything. I was just a kid when the "Blizzard of '97" hit our state, and my family was snowed in for two weeks with no access to town, no electricity, and no heat, in the middle of calving season. It tested us. It strengthened us. And it made us wiser in understanding what we might need to weather other unexpected challenges we may experience in the future. 

Needless to say, it becomes a lifestyle being prepared, protecting what is yours, preserving your family's legacy, and planning for an unknown future. Referred to as "prepping" and "homesteading," this trend is quickly growing on social media platforms as more families realize that supply chain disruptions, food shortages, and rising prices have made their essentials more expensive and harder to get.

If prepping is a new to you, here is a great introductory list to stocking up on the essentials from my friend, JC Cole. I've interviewed him several times for Rural Route, and he is a wealth of information on this topic after having lived through the total economic collapse of the country, Latvia. 

He kindly shared this list with me, and I'm happy to pass it on to you, too! Remember, it's important to plan; don't panic! Control what you can, and be resourceful in how you can safeguard your family for uncertainty.


1. 72-Hour Pack: These are designed for if you only have 5 minutes to leave the house, grab the 72 hour pack. Many companies already assemble these for you. This is a combination of items that make being away from home in an emergency for 3 days (72 hours) much more tolerable. Don't get the cheapest, and don't get the most expensive. Have one for everybody in the family, including pets. Tailor it to your individual needs. Also, update it every 6 months. 

We are seeing more and more events that are causing people to leave their homes immediately. Massive fires burning down towns, hydro-electric dams collapsing, flash floods, chemical & nuclear accidents, and maybe a pandemic shutting down the world’s supply chain.  

(JC recommends this site for pre-assembled 72-hour packs). 

2. Money: Have a combination of currencies set aside for emergencies, and in an easy-to-access but safe location. The U.S. Dollar Federal Reserve currency is the exchange system our country runs on whether you like it or not. Many people are becoming dependent on using credit or debit cards to purchase items and supplies for daily life. This is a dangerous mistake. Simple – if the electricity goes out so does the ability to use cards. Also, the banks stop functioning so you can not withdraw cash. 

Paper Money – Have some paper money and in a combination of denominations. If you have only $100 bills and the store has no ability to give you change, you just donated to the store. Have $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, and $1 bills. And have a good supply of $5 and $1 bills (as annoying as it may be) so you will not have to donate much if the store has no change. I also keep about $200 in cash in each car or vehicle just in case the wallet goes missing or is forgotten. 

Gold and Silver – Have both metals just in case something happens to the dollar. I would recommend 80% silver and 20% gold, but there is a lot of advise on the Internet about what percentages are best for you. (Of course this is not financial advise as I am not an official Financial Advisor.)

Silver comes in a few different sizes and purities. Silver in 1 oz. coins 99.99% pure such as the American Eagle, Canadian Maple Leaf, and Austrian Philharmonic. 90% silver US coins made from 1964 and older in dimes, quarters, half dollars, and silver dollars. I highly recommend the American Eagles in silver first as it is both 99.99% pure silver and official United States currency.

The majority of Americans will recognize these coins which is important for exchange. Also have some 1964 and older dimes as they are the smallest denomination in silver in the US. If you can’t find dimes, get quarters. There is also bullion silver in 1 oz, 10 oz, and 100 oz, but these will not be recognized as readily. 

3. A Coleman Duel Fuel ($60) or 3 Fuel Stove ($110): The ability to heat food and water is key! If the electricity goes out or you need to leave the house in an emergency – how are you going to cook or boil water? These stoves all run on Coleman fuel (which will be very hard to find) and normal unleaded car gasoline (which a few liters will be very easy to find - which is what makes this stove important). It is also a great backpacking stove. 


If you get the Coleman green camp stove you might add a “Mr Heater Pressure Regulated Propane Converter” ($20) that turns a Coleman Two Burner gasoline stove into a Propane stove. This gives you more versatility of fuel types -  either gasoline or propane. This uses the small 1 lb. green propane tanks. Then get a Mr. Heater Propane Hose to Bulk Tank ($27). This allows you to hook up the 20 lb white propane tanks available almost anywhere. Store a few of these white tanks.

4. A Coleman Duel Fuel Lantern  ($99): Again, it works on unleaded car fuel and you will always be able to find a liter or 2. Buy extra mantles.

Also, have a 5 gallon can of unleaded gasoline stored. Put in preservative, so it lasts a year or so. (And make sure you have a bunch of Bic lighters.)

5) Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater ($100). This gives you emergency heating if for any reason your heat or electricity goes off. If you purchased the Mr. Heater Propane Hose to Bulk Tank ($27) mentioned above, you can hook up a 20 lb white propane tank and have a good supply of heat. Make sure to have a carbon monoxide alarm.  

6. Water Filter System: ($400). Probably one of the most important investments to make. Big Berky is the most popular but there are others that are comparable.

Also store some water in 5 gal jugs in food grade containers. You can purchase them at the big box stores like Costco or BJ’s. The square containers you can stack. Again this gives you some lead time to find replacement water and empty containers will be useful in storing more water.  

A bunch of smaller portable water filters are also recommended. At time of writing you can buy a Sawyer mini water filter for only $20 off Ebay or Amazon. Good to have one of these in each vehicle glove box. 

7. 6-12 Months Of Food Per Person:  et It stores for 10 years. Having at least 3 months for everybody in the family is critical. Very simply, if for some reason the food system gets interrupted this gives you 3 months to find alternative food supplies while the rest of the population has about 3 days. This one is not perfect, and can be tweaked with additions, but it covers big issues. If left in original boxes, it can be thrown in a car and be very portable. 

Here is a minimum one-year supply for 4 people. I know Hollerman personally. In general, 1 year of food storage for everyone in the family is very good. Two years is excellent. 

Please note. In December 2018 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has come out and recommended that you store 6 months of food for each person in your household. That was increased from three days. I realize this is an intelligence test, let us see who passes.

8. A Swiss Army Knife: Remember the Tom Hanks “Cast Away” movie. A simple Swiss Army knife is an incredibly useful tool. You can find it on Ebay at 1/2 the price confiscated by TSA and resold courtesy of our government. 

9. A good Multi Tool ($25 to $100): Leatherman are generally considered the best but a little overpriced for the name. Here is a cheaper model multi-tool with a fire starter attached that I have, and have yet to break. 

Have one for everyone in the family, and a few extra in case you donate yours to the TSA like I occasionally do. Instead of giving junk gifts for birthdays and holidays, give something of value. 

10. A Tactical Flashlight: There are many options, but I like Nitecore, they are good quality and mid-range in price. This one at $60 is bright when using the rechargeable battery. This Nitecore has 5 illumination ranges which is very useful. On high at 1800 Lumen in the face then attackers will not see, on low at 1 Lumen you can can find your way around the house for 3.5 hours. Here is a WISSBLUE X2 Military Grade Flashlight, 1600 Lumen ($24). Very good for Everyday Carry, not for main tactical flashlight. Includes battery and charger. 

11. Guns: You need to sit down with a skilled, recommended, professional firearms trainer to find out what guns are best for you and your needs. Very simply, if things get ugly you will need to protect your family. If you think calling 911 with an average response time of 11 minutes during good times will work during bad times, well stupid is as stupid does. Deciding to run out and purchase a gun when it is getting ugly is a really poor strategy. It is better to have a gun and not need it, then need one and not have it. 

12. Short Wave: If communications go down and your smart phone no longer is so smart, this will be about the only way to communicate. You may need to find someone skilled to teach you, but having it is the first important thing. One for everybody in your group. At $40 it is not that big a deal. Very portable. 

A car battery charger is good to have, too. 

13. Stored water: Use a Smart Bottle that stores collapsed. A Water Bob is great, too, or some bathtub liners for $12 to emergency store water in the bathtub. 

14. Generators: Generators are needed to run key appliances, heating, and water pumps. A 5 kw Diesel with stored fuel is recommended. Make sure you have an electrician install the “Generator Transfer Switch” box now because you will not find an electrician during a regional emergency. Diesel fuel will always be more available then unleaded gasoline. The country’s delivery and transportation system runs on diesel.

Virtually 99% of the private sector’s automobiles run on unleaded gasoline. Which do you think is most critical? Which do you think the government will turn off first? Which ran out during Hurricane Sandy (unleaded gasoline) and which did not (diesel)?

15. Solar Charger 25000mAh SOARAISE Solar Power Bank ($40): Consider both a Power Pack and Solar Panels – It can recharge a mobile phone in an emergency, and can recharge its own power pack when there is no electricity. 

16. A Portable Tool Kit ($100): A portable tool kit with a simple tool set like this a skilled person can solve 80% of the household mechanical problems. Make sure it has a hammer (the Russian precision tool). Also of value is that this set is portable and can be easily thrown in the car if you have to Bug Out. 

17. Books: Have a good library stored in a plastic milk crate (available at Tractor Supply for $7) , so that it can easily be thrown in a car if you have to bug out fast. Very simply, despite what the country club armchair generals will say, you can not know it all! You need reference books. 

JC's recommended book list includes: "Dare to Prepare" by Holly Deyo; "When Technology Fails" by Mat Stein; "Survival Theory: A Preparedness Guide" by Jonathon Hollerman; "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" by Carla Emery; "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It" by James Wesley Rawles; "SAS Survival Guide" by John Wiseman; "Complete Wildness Training Manual (Boy Scouts)" by Hugh McManners; "Mini Farming - Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre" by Brett Markham; "One Second After" by William Forstchen; and any book by Selco Begovic. 

With these preps, the main important areas of food, water, security, and reference books are in the majority of your control. - JC

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